A City Without Artists? | City Conversations

2020, Cities, Series City Conversations, Arts + Culture

It’s an old urban story: a low-rent neighbourhood attracts artists; they make the area hip, which attracts people with more money. As property values increase, the artists are pushed out.

Vancouver has the highest density of artists per capita in Canada. But they’ve lost nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space in the past decade, while their median rental rates have increased more than 65 per cent. The Eastside Culture Crawl Society, alarmed at the increasing conversion of light industrial buildings to condos, and with 77 per cent of remaining artists looking to relocate, produced A City Without Art? No Net Loss, Plus!, a report that documents the changes, and called for no net loss of existing spaces, plus more non-profit and community ownership, and other strategies.

Meanwhile, The City of Vancouver has committed to addressing our acute cultural space challenges in its Culture | Shift plan, and has recently opened 10,800-square-foot purpose-built artist production facility Howe Street Studios, with much more promised.

Can it deliver? Can it stop conversions? Will more artist space mean less city housing?

Our guides for this conversation are Eri Ishii, formerly evicted painter, and Director of Portside Studios and the 901 Artists Cooperative; Brian McBay, Executive Director of the non-profit organization 221A, which manages the new Howe Street Studios, Vancouver’s first city-owned multi-artist studio spaces; and Michael Vandermeer, a sculptor (trained in nuclear physics!) with ie: Creative on Granville Island, and representative of Friends of Granville Island.

Then it’s your turn to express your opinions, make your observations, and ask questions. It’s a conversation! Feel free to bring your lunch.

This edition of City Conversations is a presentation of SFU Public Square, sponsored by SFU Vancouver and SFU's City Program.

Thu, 16 Jan 2020

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. (PT)

SFU Vancouver at Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings St.
Room 7000

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.


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